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Online Lessons for Teachers: Learning Evolution

LESSON 6: 

Why Does Evolution Matter Now?

View LESSON 6 Student Page

Activity 1: Evolution and Antibiotic Resistance

Activity 2: Evolution in Your World

Activity 2: Teacher Notes

Materials You'll Need:

• 

Evolution and Antibiotic Resistance: Survey form (pdf)

One or more of the following:

• 

Paper for pamphlet

• 

Board for poster

• 

Power Point program for presentation

• 

Video camera for public service announcement

Activity 1 Teacher Notes: Evolution and Antibiotic Resistance

In this activity, students learn why evolution is at the heart of a world health threat. They will investigate the increasing problem of antibiotic resistance in such menacing diseases as tuberculosis and influenza. Students take on the role of staff at a public health agency who are trying to communicate the widespread problem of evolving disease-causing agents to the public.

Learning Goals

• 

To give students an example of real-time evolutionary change

• 

To show students how disease-causing (infectious) agents evolve rapidly

Procedure
Part A: Misuse of Antibiotics

1. 

Help your students view Video for Students: "Why Does Evolution Matter Now?".

 Image of a bacteria seen under a microscope.

Why Does
Evolution Matter Now?

View in:
QuickTime | RealPlayer

2. 

When students finish answering the questions embedded in Activity 1, lead them in a discussion of their answers.

3. 

Image of bacteria.

As a follow-up to this discussion, you may want to have students view the "Evolution of Antibiotic Resistance" animation to help them understand how antibiotic resistance can evolve.

Evolution of Antibiotic Resistance
View in:
QuickTime | RealPlayer

4. 

Finally, if you have time, direct your students to the interview with Dr. Ewald about evolution and antibiotic resistance.


Part B: Misuse of Antibiotics

1. 

Distribute, or ask students to print, the Evolution and Antibiotic Resistance: Survey form (pdf). Help students think of people they can survey. Encourage them to find people of different ages.

2. 

Allow students two or three days to complete their surveys, and then lead a discussion of their results in class. Discuss why it is important to finish taking the full course of antibiotics prescribed by your doctor. Also talk about why doctors might prescribe antibiotics when they aren't necessary. (Some consumers may not understand that antibiotics can't cure everything, and demand treatment. Some physicians may be tempted to prescribe antibiotics even if they are ineffective for a particular condition, because their patients will leave feeling satisfied that they have some medicine to take.)


Part C: Spread the Word
Students research the problems associated with the overuse of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance and develop an educational tool to inform the public about this problem.

1. 

Divide your class into small groups (three to four students). Each team will represent a group of health professionals who have been hired to develop a public relations campaign about antibiotic misuse and resistance.

2. 

Help your students locate the Web resources highlighted in the activity.

3. 

Provide hints about how to develop an educational tool for their health campaign. You may want to collect professional pamphlets about health issues as samples. (You can obtain samples from local hospitals, pharmacies, and doctors' offices.)

4. 

If your students choose to create posters or PowerPoint presentations, you may need to provide other resources (poster board or access to computers with PowerPoint capabilities).

5. 

Display the finished products, or allow students to show them to the class. You may want to encourage students to hand out copies of their pamphlet in their neighborhood. They should at least follow up with the survey participants.


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